The Dakshina Kannada police, on Friday, detained BJP leaders Shobha Karandlaje, Nalin Kumar Kateel, and a few others for carrying out a protest against the assault on RSS worker Sharat. The protests were held despite Section 144 being clamped in the area.
The leaders, who were protesting in Bantwal, were bundled into police vans and taken to Beltangady and Puttur. They were later released.
Sharath, who runs a laundry service at BC Road, was stabbed by bike-borne assailants Tuesday night, when he was leaving work.
“MPs Shobha Karandlaje and Nalin Kumar Kateel, Karkala MLA, Sunil Kumar, former MLA, Padmanabha Kottary, and Hindu leaders including Rajesh Naik, Devadas Shetty, Jagadish Adhikari, G Anand, Jithendra Kottary and thousands of pro-Hindu activists arrived here from Mangaluru, Putur, Sullia and Beltangady to take part in the protest,” Dakshina Kannada SP Sudheer Kumar Reddy said.
RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, who is held responsible by the Social Democratic Party of India for the communal clashes in the region, was also present at the protest venue, but left within a few minutes.
The police have registered cases against 500-odd people for violating section 144 and have booked them under sections 143 and 149.
“Vehicular movement on the highway had been stalled for a few hours when the protest was being conducted but was restored later,” said Dakshina Kannda SP Sudheer Kumar Reddy.
Shops and commercial establishments have shut down in the district fearing violence, the police said.
In addition to the protests led by the BJP, Hindu Hitarakshana Vedike also held protests against the murder attempt on Sharat, and they condemned the “frequent incidents of atrocities against members of Hindu community in the district, in spite of the fact that prohibitory orders under section 144”.
“We have repeatedly warned people not to form crowds, organize meetings and functions. Activists of Hindu organizations totalling over a thousand had gathered at several spots at B C Road. To thwart any untoward incidents, police personnel have been deployed all over Bantwal,” SP Reddy added.
Western range Inspector General of Police, Harishekaran, and SP Sudheer Kumar Reddy, have been patrolling the town and monitoring the situation.
Over 25 police vans have been stationed at BC Road. Fire brigade vehicles have also been kept on standby in case any untoward incident occurs.
Speaking after visiting the laundry store belonging to Sharath, Shobha Karandlaje criticized the state government for its failure to arrest the culprits.
“The police is being used to silence the protesters and the Congress government is abetting such incidents instead of controlling law and order situation,” she said.